Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Colorado’s unemployment rate stood at 2.5 percent, and employers added 3,100 nonfarm payroll jobs from January to February.
Private-sector payroll jobs increased by 1,000 and government jobs increased by 2,100.
Jobs in February in Colorado totaled 2,816,900, according to a business establishment survey conducted by Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
Because the month-over-month change in jobs from December to January was 300 instead of the originally estimated 1,300, January’s estimate was revised down to 2,813,800.
According to a household survey conducted separately by the department, the active labor force increased by 5,600, totaling 3,186,400. The number of people reporting themselves as employed in Februrary increased by 4,700, totaling 3,106,100.
The number of unemployed people increased by 900, but due to rounding, the state rate remained unchanged at 2.5 percent for the month. The national unemployment rate decreased 0.1 percentage point in February to 3.5 percent.
The reference period for the business and household surveys is the pay period or week of the 12th of the month, so the February information was prior to the first COVID-19 cases in the state.
Over the year, the average private nonfarm employee workweek increased from 33.1 to 33.7 hours and the average hourly earnings increased from $29.95 to $30.95.
The largest over-the-month private-sector job increases were in other services, financial activities, and professional and business services. The largest over-the-month decline was in construction.
Since February 2019, nonfarm payroll jobs increased by 50,100 positions, with 38,200 coming from the private sector and 11,900 coming from government. The largest private sector job increases were in professional and business services, education and health services, and trade, transportation and utilities. Mining and logging saw the biggest declines over the year.
Between February 2019 and February 2020, the Colorado unemployment rate decreased by 0.6 percentage point from 3.1 percent. The number of Coloradans participating in the labor force increased by 65,700, total employment increased by 81,700, and the number of unemployed decreased by 16,000.
The national unemployment rate declined from 3.8 percent in February 2019 to 3.5 percent in February 2020.
Nonfarm payroll job estimates based on the business establishment survey are intended to measure the number of jobs, not the number of people employed. The unemployment rate, labor force, labor force participation, total employment and number of unemployed people are based on the household survey.
The business establishment survey covers about seven times as many households surveyed and is therefore considered a more reliable indicator of economic conditions by the department. Because estimates are based on two separate surveys, results can occasionally seem conflicting.